Growth Patterns and AMS-14C Age Dates of Fossil Corals from Northwest Pacific

Kevin L. Garas, Tsuyoshi Watanabe, Atsuko Yamazaki, Angel T. Bautista, Hiroyuki Matsuzaki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study aims to evaluate the controlling factor/s of coral growth in the northwest Pacific during the Holocene. Here, we present newly acquired growth data and radiocarbon age dates of fossil Porites corals collected from Holocene uplifted marine terraces in Kikaijima, southern Japan and northwest Luzon, Philippines. Carbonate mineral identification using X-ray diffraction (XRD) and scanning electron microscope (SEM) was conducted to screen for any diagenetic alteration in the fossil corals. We used accelerator mass spectrometer (AMS) –14C dating to determine the absolute age dates of the fossil corals. Well-preserved fossil corals yielded radiocarbon age dates of 3235 ± 20 and 5712 ± 24 cal. yr BP for Kikaijima and 6285 ± 79, 6144 ± 77, 4336 ± 21, 4277 ± 19, 4200 ± 20, and 2972 ± 70 cal. yr BP for northwest Luzon. X-ray imaging of a 5-mm thick coral slab was utilized to measure growth variables. Linear extension rate, skeletal density, and calcification rate of Kikaijima corals are 3.77–8.72 mm/ yr, 1.71–1.87 g/cm3, and 0.70–1.56 g/cm2yr, respectively. Linear extension rate, skeletal density, and calcification rate from northwest Luzon corals are 10.17–17.6 mm/yr, 0.66–1.67 g/cm3, and 0.91–2.81 g/cm2yr, respectively. Average linear extension rate from both sites was significantly and positively related to average calcification rate (r = 0.72, p = 0.019, n = 10). Skeletal density and linear extension rate measured from both sites were inversely related with each other (r = –0.56, p = 0.09, n = 10). Our data suggest that the variations in linear extension rates of fossil corals were influenced by the sea surface temperature (SST) difference between the study sites. However, data from modern corals are still needed to establish the local linear extension rate-SST relationship and to quantitatively evaluate how coral growth changes with respect to SST. Geomorphological, sedimentological, and geochronological studies of Holocene uplifted marine terraces should be conducted to provide the timing of emergence and coral reef development during Holocene.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)317-332
Number of pages16
JournalPhilippine Journal of Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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